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‘Hey Mom…’

"...can I have a tattoo?" Dave Smith paints a picture of a keen cyclist in discussion with Mother Nature herself.

A kiss from Mother Nature herself, from the outdoors parlour, opened all year round


“Sure my darling child.”

“Awesome, I was thinking of getting one of a bike and….”

“Wait! There are some rules you should be aware of.

I will choose when you have it.

I will choose what shape it will be when it is ‘complete’.

I will choose how painful the process will be.

I will choose, with your input, how many you have.

I will choose the colour, but my options are a little limited.

I will choose where they are on your body.

But I promise you, each one will tell an interesting story.”

So it is in Mother Nature’s tattoo parlour

While we’ve moved on from “chicks dig scars”, the stamp of adventure still has a warm place in the hearts of many outdoor people. Although a chainring in the shin may not result in being ‘inked’ with the Mandarin word for ‘butterfly’, it may well remind you of the time you crashed in the Rockies while distracted by a butterfly…

The seemingly random nature of scars tells a multitude of stories in itself. Patches on elbows, hips and the outside of knees suggests a roadie, shins and elbows suggest a mountain biker, while everywhere suggests an all-round outdoor person.

And the disobedient healing doesn’t just fix tissue cells in place on the surface but forms memories that don’t require an Instagram post to be retained. The knee scar, from crashing your dirt bike at 5 years old, to avoid hitting your dog. The hole in your elbow from a climbing fall. Then there’s the slowly fading speck on your thigh from the spider bite in Brisbane, still visible 15 years later. As for the power tool-finger interaction, that’s another story.

None captured on film or digitally, but all still there as a daily reminder of life, away from the TV.

So step outside, do fun stuff, and see what plans Mother Nature has for extracting a small tax on all the good times.


By Dave Smith

Contributor on cycling, training, and travel

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